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Please note that if you are not applying to take the course for academic credit then you do not need to submit a reference. Please ensure you read the guidance notes which appear when you click on the symbols as you progress through the application form, as any errors resulting from failure to do so may delay your application. The main prerequisite for the course is enthusiasm for the subject. The course is designed to introduce students to the history and philosophy of EBHC and no background or education in history or philosophy will be required.

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Students will also generally be expected to have an undergraduate degree. This course can be taken with academic credit assignment of up to 4, words or without academic credit, please indicate on your form which option you are applying for. If you have any questions about your eligibility, please contact Jeremy Howick, module coordinator, directly on Jeremy. This website uses cookies. Please read our cookie policy for more information. Ask a question Waiting list. Overview Why and how did evidence-based medicine arise, and why should you accept it? Students are encouraged to discuss and engage actively with all the tutors, during all sessions.

Improve your clinical skills.

2. Analytic Philosophy of Education and Its Influence

Medical students who study the humanities perform better than those who focus exclusively on the sciences Lancet , J Med Humanities Deepen your ability to gain philisophical insight. Philosophy of science without history of science is empty; history of science without philosophy of science is blind. Gain accounts of how Evidence-Based Health Care arose from some of the key figures involved in its conception.


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Learn to think more critically. Critical thinking is a pillar of analytic philosophy. You will be encouraged to question EBHC rather than accept it because it has become widely accepted. Why choose this course if you are neither a health care practitioner nor a philosopher or historian? The lay press bombards us with claims that diets will cure disease, that new medical technology promises to prolong life, and that environmental factors will lead to premature death. It is important for all of us to be able to critically evaluate these claims.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the course, technical jargon particular to each discipline will be either entirely avoided or explained. The course is accessible to anyone interested in understanding the nature, history, and justification for the kinds of health claims they face on a daily basis.

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History and Philosophy of Science involves writing critical essays. The course involves workshops on essay writing and an online peer review process to help you develop your ideas. Many students have published their essays in peer reviewed journals. There are will also be plenary sessions led by leading experts within the field of EBHC. Comments from previous participants: "The course will help me to structure my thinking about the advantages and limitations of EBM and to answer the questions I have about the interaction between EBM and the structure of current western healthcare systems.

Does EBHC work? What is the evidence that EBHC has done more good than harm? The philosophy of placebo and nocebo effects Examination of arguments that average results are of questionable relevance to individuals The history of probabilistic thinking and statistical analysis in testing treatments Power versus rationality: EBHC versus financial and academic conflicts of interest How do or should do values play a role in EBHC?

The Philosophy of Evidence-Based Medicine. Chapters Chalmers I. James Lind Library: explaining and illustrating the evolution of fair tests of treatments. Wootton, D. Oxford, Oxford University Press. Cambridge, CUP. A philosopher might specialize in Kantian epistemology, or Platonic aesthetics, or modern political philosophy. Furthermore, these philosophical inquiries sometimes overlap with each other and with other inquiries such as science, religion or mathematics. Metaphysics is the study of the most general features of reality , such as existence , time , objects and their properties , wholes and their parts, events, processes and causation and the relationship between mind and body.

Metaphysics includes cosmology , the study of the world in its entirety and ontology , the study of being. A major point of debate is between realism , which holds that there are entities that exist independently of their mental perception and idealism , which holds that reality is mentally constructed or otherwise immaterial. Metaphysics deals with the topic of identity. Essence is the set of attributes that make an object what it fundamentally is and without which it loses its identity while accident is a property that the object has, without which the object can still retain its identity.

Particulars are objects that are said to exist in space and time, as opposed to abstract objects , such as numbers, and universals , which are properties held by multiple particulars, such as redness or a gender. The type of existence, if any, of universals and abstract objects is an issue of debate.


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Epistemology is the study of knowledge Greek episteme. They also ask: What is truth? Is knowledge justified true belief? Are any beliefs justified? Putative knowledge includes propositional knowledge knowledge that something is the case , know-how knowledge of how to do something and acquaintance familiarity with someone or something. Epistemologists examine these and ask whether knowledge is really possible.


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Skepticism is the position which doubts claims to knowledge. The regress argument , a fundamental problem in epistemology, occurs when, in order to completely prove any statement, its justification itself needs to be supported by another justification. This chain can go on forever, called infinitism , it can eventually rely on basic beliefs that are left unproven, called foundationalism , or it can go in a circle so that a statement is included in its own chain of justification, called coherentism. Rationalism is the emphasis on reasoning as a source of knowledge.

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It is associated with a priori knowledge , which is independent of experience, such as math and logical deduction. Empiricism is the emphasis on observational evidence via sensory experience as the source of knowledge. Value theory or axiology is the major branch of philosophy that addresses topics such as goodness, beauty and justice.

Value theory includes ethics, aesthetics, political philosophy, feminist philosophy, philosophy of law and more.

How To Be A Philosopher

Ethics, or "moral philosophy", studies and considers what is good and bad conduct , right and wrong values , and good and evil. Its primary investigations include how to live a good life and identifying standards of morality. It also includes meta-investigations about whether a best way to live or related standards exists.

The main branches of ethics are normative ethics , meta-ethics and applied ethics. A major area of debate involves consequentialism , in which actions are judged by the potential results of the act, such as to maximize happiness, called utilitarianism , and deontology , in which actions are judged by how they adhere to principles, irrespective of negative ends.

Aesthetics is the "critical reflection on art, culture and nature. An example from art theory is to discern the set of principles underlying the work of a particular artist or artistic movement such as the Cubist aesthetic. Political philosophy is the study of government and the relationship of individuals or families and clans to communities including the state. It includes questions about justice, law, property and the rights and obligations of the citizen.